Art from Years Past: How Art Saved Me
Today Facebook reminded me that it has been four years since I drew "Chained."
This art work came from a time when I was not in a good place, emotionally and mentally. I was feeling trapped at work and in my relationship with my spouse. The image is pretty acurate as to how I was feeling, a dried husk of a person, smushed into a box and wrapped in chains. I had nothing left to give, no more space to grow, and no more limbs to chain down. Things were not pretty. I suppose one could say I was depressed, though I was never diagnosed.
Around this time I became friends with an artist living in Seattle. This artist was also going through a rough patch, though for different reasons. As we got to know each other better, I realized I was not doing anything with my frustrations. I would just bottle everything up, read, sleep, or otherwise escape, but never deal with the things that were making me want to escape. Whereas this friend would buckle down and work on art and two weekly comic strips. Even when all they wanted to to was do what I was doing... trying to escape.
At first I thought that my friend was doing "better than me" because they had something to focus on. As we talked it came evident that this was not the case. I actually had more stablility and things to focus on. The main differences were that I did not have a safe outlet for things that were bothering me, and they had a care system in place to deal with their depression.
I bought some art pens and paper and set to work drawing what I felt like. The idea for what I wanted to draw came easily. I had been feeling this way for over a year making the translation of my feelings into a visual easy. It was even easy to set aside time every day to work on it. I was happy to finally express what I was feeling. It was a huge burden off my shoulders to share everything.
Creating this caused my spouse and I to talk about how things in the relationship were. I started to work on improving myself and change what I could at work. It took time, but things got better and I was less depressed. I even got motivated to see a doctor about my allergies, which helped reduce the depression symptoms more.
I do not know where I would be in my relationship, health, and work if I had never become friends with this artist. I do know that it would not be good.
I am not going to name my artist friend. I have told them many times that they basically saved my life. I know it embaresses them to hear it. Flattering and just embarassing for an introvert to hear someone bluntly say that you saved their life. I am still friends with this artist and I hope that I always will be.
That is the story behind "Chained."
I do have more stories to share that go with some of my drawings/paintings. I will share them as I make time to write in this blog.
Have a great week!
PS. Tell your friends you appreciate them. Tell them how they saved you. Be specific and honest.